Earlier today we were sent a link to the anitque postcard above, which dates back to 1905, is allegedly the oldest LOLCat image in existence. Intrigued, we decided to do a little digging. This card is the work of Harry Whittier Frees an American photographer who got his kicks dressing up animals in people-style clothes fashioned by his wife and posing them with props. According to a 1937 profile of Frees in Life magazine, his career started at a birthday party in 1906. He took some photographs of a cat wearing a party hat, and later sold them to a postcard printer.
There was supposedly a Brighton photographer named Henry Pointer whose work pre-dates Frees’, but we couldn’t find any documentation to back this up.
The LOLCats phenomenon as we know it was born on 4chan in 2005 and blew up in 2007 thanks to I Can Has Cheezburger?. Just nine months after launching the site Eric Nakagawa told the Wall Street Journal that he was generating over a half-million page views a day and enough in ad revenue to pay the bills.
See also: Ben Burns’ hilarious documentary on cat macros below.
And there you have it. More than likely, way more information than you ever needed on the topic. Coming soon to a Flavorwire near you: Keyboard Cat: A Brief History.